Even after taking in the details of today’s 3Newz report several times, it is harder than ever to comprehend what happened at the Dotcom mansion last month.
We knew that dozens of police swooped on the location in helicopters and we knew they were armed. But what is even more unbelievable is that some of them were from the Special Tactics Group, New Zealand’s elite counter-terrorist force.
STG, nicknamed “Super Tough Guys”, train with the country’s Special Air Force and are sent in to deal with the most violent of offenders. Yet no one in the Dotcom household had any record of violence. Indeed, their main target was a man suspected of online copyright infringement – a computer related offense.
Wayne Tempero, Dotcom’s bodyguard, told 3Newz that the police were armed with assault rifles and sidearms – STG are known to use M4A3 carbines and Glock pistols. Tempero explained that two firearms were held in Dotcom mansion – two shotguns, both his, legal, fully licensed and locked away in safes.
At 06:45 Tempero was woken by a “horrendous noise” and after dressing and running outside he was confronted by a huge cloud of dust being kicked up a helicopter hovering just above the ground.
Tempero, wearing just a t-shirt and track pants with his hands held up, and was ordered by a flak jacket wearing armed officer to lie on the floor. Tempero said that the noise of the helicopter and doors being smashed elsewhere on the property was so loud that if the police did identify themselves, he didn’t hear them.
The armed police went into the indoor play area which had 3 kids inside – one aged 3, one 4 and another 15 months, together with their Filipino nannies. From there they proceeded to one of the nannies’ rooms, kicked the door down and demanded to know if she had any firearms – or bombs.
Tempero said he asked the nanny twice if she was sure they asked if she had bombs – she said she was. “Maybe that’s the kind of thing that Filipino nannies do,” Tempero said.
Outside people were being handcuffed and put on the floor. Two security guards, Tempero himself and the Filipino staff, were placed next to a van containing barking dogs.
Meanwhile the police had gone upstairs and were trying to smash down the door to Kim Dotcom’s quarters. Tempero said Dotcom’s wife tried to give them the security code but they weren’t interested and told her to go downstairs.
Police smashed down three doors to get to Kim and when Tempero was allowed back upstairs, six officers with sledgehammers and a circular saw were trying to smash into what they thought was Dotcom’s hiding place. It was in fact a broken service elevator/dumb waiter (below).
Dotcom had actually followed a prearranged plan formulated by his bodyguard which involved him hiding in the “Red Room” to ensure his safety. Tempero was asked what would have happened if a couple of police had simply turned up and asked for Dotcom to come down.
“He would have complied with everything, we would have sat at the large table, he would’ve probably offered them breakfast and he would have complied with everything,” Tempero said.
“Would he have done anything to destroy the hard drive, to take down Megaupload?” 3Newz asked. “Certainly not, why would he? He would be destroying his defense,” Tempero responded.
Despite the massive police and apparent counter-terrorist operation against him, Dotcom was in the Red Room alone for more than half an hour.
“If Kim had a Doomsday setup where he could delete his harddrive or takedown Megaupload, would there have been sufficient time for him to do that had that been his intention?” questioned 3Newz.
“He could’ve done that within seconds,” said Tempero.
There can be little doubt that Kim Dotcom and the other operators of Megaupload are accused of serious crimes and ultimately a court will decide if they are innocent or guilty. But whatever the scale of the alleged offenses, these are ‘white collar’ issues – computer matters – and whatever he may or may not have done, Kim Dotcom is not a terrorist and has never been accused of being one.
Here’s the excellent 3Newz video report. It’s over 10 minutes long but worth the time.
Judging by the 3Newz reporter’s tone, he’s struggling to see the connection between the alleged offenses and the response by the authorities. And he isn’t the only one.